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Stade Rennais F.C. and its stadium, Roazhon Park, are part of the Breton capital's heritage. If you are travelling to Rennes, why not attend a match to soak up the atmosphere and experience the bond between the fans and the boys in red and black.
Since it was first opened on 13 October 1912, the former Parc des Sports has been well and truly transformed. Long known as the Stade de la Route de Lorient, it underwent a number of extensions in the 1950s and 1980s, before its most recent renovation took place in 2004, which increased its capacity to almost 30,000. In fact, the stadium, which officially became "Roazhon Park" in 2015, has exactly 29,778 seats, all in the club's iconic colours. Incidentally, this English-style stadium with its very Breton name also offers great acoustics...which goes without saying for this 'city of rock'!
For over a century, an entire neighbourhood has been coming alive on match days when, on the banks of La Vilaine, the city merges with its club, its stadium and its supporters. Before each match, the anthem of Brittany (Bro gozh ma zadoù) rings out through the stadium, provoking a wave of goosebumps among the club's fans. And following in the footsteps of some of Europe's biggest stadiums, notably Camp Nou, Roazhon Park lets out a mighty roar at the 35th minute in honour of the département's number, with supporters encouraged to make as much noise as possible. It's an unmissable experience for any weekend in Rennes!
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Stade Rennais is one of the 10 best French football clubs, consistently spending many a season at top level. In terms of atmosphere, supporter loyalty and pre- and post-match entertainment, Rennes also holds its own, ranking among the top three clubs in the Championnat de France des Tribunes, set up by LFP (France's professional football league) to honour the best fans. And Stade Rennais can also rely on one particularly fervent fan: Salma Hayek, the wife of the club's owner, François-Henri Pinault! The actress is often engrossed by the action on the pitch, just like the rest of the club's fans!
The ardour felt for the club is evident whenever Rennes plays at home at weekends. Families and friends attend matches as part of an age-old tradition, a sort of ritual that invites people to come together to enjoy a sporting event. The atmosphere is always particularly intense during Breton derbies when Rennes comes up against its neighbours Nantes, or whenever it hosts teams at the top of the table.
The Stade Rennais's official mascot proudly dons the colours of Brittany on the pitch! Erminig, which is Breton for 'ermine', is the symbol of the region that notably appears on the Breton flag (the Gwen Ha Du), which is proudly displayed at every stadium, festival and concert. Breton pride is no myth in Rennes and the club's mascot, complete with his number 35 jersey, strives to embody this on the pitch. This ermine doesn't hold back and is afraid of no one, be it French judoka Teddy Riner or rival clubs' mascots! You can follow the antics of the French premier league's craziest mascot on Erminig's official Twitter page.
The atmosphere at Roazhon Park can also be felt at the dozens of galette-saucisse stands lining the stadium at weekends. The history of this Rennes speciality is closely linked to that of the stadium. Ever since the club was founded in 1901, the galette-saucisse has been an integral part of the match experience in Rennes. It is "the symbol of a festive Sunday," according to Benjamin Keltz, who wrote a book on the subject and on the Stade Rennais supporters. It's enjoyed before the match, after the match, at half time, and so on. In Rennes, we take great pride in both our galette-saucisse and the Stade Rennais.
A song paying tribute to the galette-saucisse, composed by supporters on a trip to Marseille, even became the official anthem of the Roazhon Celtic Kop official supporters' club and has been adopted by the entire stadium! Jacky Sourget, the stadium announcer for over 20 years, even did his own cover of it in a music video that went viral. The song pokes light-hearted fun at Rennes's biggest rivals, so don't forget to brush up on the words before your trip to Roazhon Park!